Unearthing the history of long lost Bullick’s Court

by “The Digger” – 28 March 2013

The following article was published in The Ulster Star on 28 March 2013.

A Long Lost Court of Lisburn - Bullick's Court

A Long Lost Court of Lisburn – Bullick’s Court

It never ceases to amaze me when archaeologists provide an in depth analysis for their findings during and after a dig on a site that could be thousands of years old. There are clues to former buildings on the site, and in many instances they have replaced even older dwellings over time. At some point during the course of history there was a point in time when the dwellings became unoccupied and derelict and then were removed from the landscape.

The process of dereliction and deconstruction of former homes and redevelopment of an area is not something confined to the annals of early history for they are processes that have been on-going since time began.

Some of the older residents of the town may well remember Bullick’s Court and many other adjacent homes and buildings in the immediate vicinity – Bradbury’s Buildings, Linenhall Street, Barrack Lane and Barnsley’s Row. People who resided in the area over a century ago would also be recalling the old Market House and Brown Linen Hall at Linenhall Street and the Damask manufactories situated off Back Lane and Linenhall Street. The old Post Office building opened on the former Linenhall site in 1964.

A photograph showing numbers 10, 11 & 12 Bullick’s Court off Linenhall Street, Lisburn believed to have be taken in the 1960’s

A photograph showing numbers 10, 11 & 12 Bullick’s Court off Linenhall Street, Lisburn believed to have be taken in the 1960’s

In the mid to late 19th century there were a number of homes to be found in lanes and alleys located off the main streets in the town area and were named after the owner of the properties. Mack’s Court – David Mack, Barnsley’s Row – Catherine Barnsley, Seed’s Entry – Hugh Seeds, Hart’s Yard – Margaret Hart, Mussen’s Entry – Arthur Mussen, Hutcheson’s Entry – James Hutcheson’s, Jefferson’s Court – Redmond Jefferson, McCartney’s Entry – Arthur McCartney, Mussen’s Court – William Mussen, Kernaghan’s Entry – James Kernaghan and Phillip’s Court – John Phillips. To confuse matters there were two areas in the town known as Major’s Court. One was located off Bridge Street in the town and the other situated off Linenhall Street. There were also a number of houses in the vicinity of Major’s Court known as Thompson’s Court owned by George Thompson.

Moses Bullick married Elizabeth Parker in 1859 in Leeds. He was a house painter by trade and had a successful business at Railway Street, Lisburn and College Green, Belfast. He also held the esteemed position of town commissioner in Lisburn in the late 19th century. His sons, James Parker, Moses and Ezekiel followed their father into the painting business. Moses Bullick, senior, purchased a number of properties in the Lisburn and Belfast areas. At this time what was once called Major’s Court became Bullick’s Court. Moses Bullick passed away at the age of 83 on 14th December 1916. Major’s Court, both in the Bridge Street and Linenhall area’s then came into the possession of Moses’s son James Parker Bullick. James however passed away in November 1918 and his wife Katie became the owner of Bullick’s Court.

The entry to Bullick’s Court was between number 10 and 12 Linenhall Street in the mid 1930 period. I came across this old photograph of Bullick’s Court. Fortunately someone had marked the location on the rear, provided a sketch and labelled it “Numbers 10, 11 & 12 The Green, Bullick’s Court, off Linenhall Street.”

There is no date on the photograph, but undoubtedly it was taken in the 1960’s period. At that time the buildings were in a sorry state. In October 1962 The Ulster Star featured the area of Bullick’s Court and the article was titled “Do something now.”

Criticism was being levelled at the local council representatives who had visited the area on a fact-finding tour. The Ulster Star at that time described the conditions that the inhabitants of the houses had to reside in as appalling and called for the residents to be rehoused and the houses demolished. It was reported that the inhabited houses in the court were full of woodworm, damp and rot. Interestingly some of the residents were named in the 1962 article. Eliza Jane Andrews, originally from Lambeg, then aged 71, had resided for 17 years in number nine and a total of 46 years in the court. Readers were informed that her son David, daughter Mrs. Isabel Turpie and her three grandchildren resided with her. George Allen and his wife Florence at number fifteen were also featured in the article.

There have been numerous residents in the houses at Bullick’s Court off Linenhall Street throughout the lifetime of the buildings. Many of their surnames can be found within old valuation records, census returns, rate books and old newspapers.

If you have access to the internet you should take time to look up www.lisburn.com and have a look at the exiles forum there. You will find a goldmine of memories there which is being added to on an almost daily basis. Some of the memories relate directly to former residents of Bullick’s Court also referred to as Bullick’s Square. Former residents – Archer, Stafford, Cree, Whitby, McGrogan, McDonald, Kerrs,and Andrews all get a mention.

I would be keen to hear from anyone who has any memories of Bullick’s Court or any old photographs of the area.

The Digger can be contacted via our Contact page or by contacting The Ulster Star.

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